The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires all F-1 students to be full-time enrolled each long semester (fall and spring) and, in some cases, summer sessions, in order to maintain status. See the international student enrollment webpage for more information about required semesters. Occasionally an F-1 student can be authorized by the UT Dallas ISSO to take a reduced course load and still maintain F-1 status.
In order to maintain F-1 status, a student must obtain written authorization from an international student advisor prior to reducing his or her course load.
Consult other campus offices to determine if reducing your hours at UT Dallas will affect other items, including scholarships, TA/RA positions and campus housing.
There are a number of eligibility requirements and restrictions. Please speak to an international student advisor for more information.
Students in the following situations may be eligible for reduced enrollment, if documented by an international student advisor and the appropriate academic professionals:
- Initial difficulties with the English language
- Initial difficulties with reading requirements
- Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods
- Improper course level placement
Students experiencing a serious medical illness or condition may be eligible for reduced enrollment, if documented by an international student advisor and the appropriate medical professional.
The ISSO will process any Reduced Course Load Due to Medical that has been endorsed by a US Licensed Physician, however we urge students to use caution when requesting authorization for a medical condition that relates to Pregnancy or Childbirth. While a “normal” pregnancy, may present challenges for an F-1 student, it is not clear that the USCIS will view these as “medical conditions” should they decide to review the situation of a student who has received such authorization.
Students who are participate in a full time CPT which lasts for 11 weeks or more may be eligible for reduced enrollment every other long semester (i.e., students who reduce enrollment due to full time CPT in the fall, can next reduce enrollment due to full time CPT in the following fall).
Students who are completing their degree requirements in the current term are only required to enroll in the courses needed to complete their studies provided they apply for graduation by Census Day of the graduating term. However, if only one course is required, it cannot be a distance education course.
Students can maintain F-1 status by completing courses concurrently at another institution while remaining on a UT Dallas I-20 if they meet all the requirements listed on the Concurrent Enrollment Form
- Identify possible concurrent courses.
Verify with a UT Dallas academic advisor that the courses meet degree requirements.
Submit a Concurrent Enrollment Form to the ISSO by Census Day of each semester of concurrent enrollment. Receive ISSO approval with a signature on the form.
Enroll and complete the approved concurrent courses.
Provide documentation to the ISSO that you completed the approved concurrent courses to meet F-1 enrollment requirements. The most convenient source for most students in an online grade report.
Arrange for the transfer of credit to the UT Dallas Registrar’s Office.
- At least half of the F-1 required hours must be taken at UT Dallas. Undergraduate students must take at least 6 hours at UT Dallas, graduate students must take at least 6 hours at UT Dallas.
- Only one distance education course can apply to those required hours.